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Kayo Dot


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Kayo Dot Blasphemy album cover
3.61 | 89 ratings | 4 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ocean Cumulonimbus (3:59)
2. The Something Opal (5:43)
3. Lost Souls on Lonesome's Way (5:20)
4. Vanishing Act in Blinding Gray (8:07)
5. Turbine, Hook, and Haul (6:09)
6. Midnight Mystic Rise and Fall (5:33)
7. An Eye for a Lie (5:21)
8. Blasphemy: A Prophecy (4:13)

Total Time: 45:32

"Purity" bonus CD:

1. Ocean Opalescent (3:46)
2. Illegible X (2:04)
3. Lies in Lapis (3:36)
4. Voyage of the Avarice (5:31)
5. Oceanic Point of Inaccessibility (6:18)
6. Blasphemy (6:13)

Total Time : 27:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / guitar, bass, synths, vocals, percussion, electronics and production
- Ron Varod / guitar
- Leonardo Didkovsky / drums
- Phillip Price / drums
- Tim Byrnes / trumpet (5)
- Timm Mason / additional synth design
- Matthew Serra / remixes

Releases information

Label: Prophecy Productions
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
September 6, 2019
LP, CD Digipak, 2 CD book edition (hardcover, 18x18 cm, 48 pages with enhanced artwork, a full chapter of the novel that serves as the album's thematic basis, and feat. the 6-track bonus CD "Purity" with renditions of "Blasphemy" tracks by Wet Math) and ltd. box-set (LP on exclusive Clear vinyl, 2 CD art-book, three art prints, and a full map of the novel's universe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to TCat for the last updates
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KAYO DOT Blasphemy ratings distribution

(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KAYO DOT Blasphemy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Kayo Dot continues to be Toby Driver's musical project, and has been since it's formation since the band formed from many of his colleagues from his previous band "Maudlin of the Well". Some of that heavy, extreme metal carried over from that band, but Kayo Dot also took on a huge amount of experimental and post metal sound, and over the years and the course of several albums, that sound has adjusted as needed for each individual album. The music has ranged from the avant-prog-jazz-fusion sound of "Blue Lambency Downward" to the heavy black experimental metal sound of "Hubardo". All the while, however, Driver has retained this avant-prog mentality and has continually expanded his borders to include gothic-style rock and post- punk in some of his albums. All through this time, he has worked with different line-ups of musicians including John Zorn, Trey Spruance, Sunn O))), and many others.

Kayo Dot's album "Blasphemy" is the project's ninth full-length album, released in September of 2019. This album is based on an allegorical story by Jason Byron which surrounds three characters searching for treasure who end up being destroyed by the treasure for which they sought; a sleeping girl with terrible power that goes by the name of Blasphemy. The album is available on LP, CD Digipack, and Bandcamp. There is a 2x CD edition which includes a 6-track CD of remixes (done by Wet Math) from the album and a hardcover book with artwork and a chapter from the book that serves as the album's story. There is also a limited edition box set that includes the full LP on clear vinyl, the 2 CD artbook, 3 art prints and a map of the novel's universe.

Starting off with "Ocean Cumulonimbus" (3:59), the music begins with the gothic mentality, with echoing and jangly guitars, and soon Driver starts with clean vocals that seem to be pushing his emotional boundaries, at least with the clean vocals, but then they become heavier and start to push the clean vocal boundaries, but not quite getting to the screaming or growling style he sometime uses. The music continues going from softer to heavier vocals and the music becomes more symphony- like, moving away from that gothic beginning. "The Something Opal" (5:43) has a sound that seems a bit thicker as far as guitar and synth layers go. The vocals continue in the clean style, but are layered with gruffer vocals at times. The music is cinematic and a bit hazy giving it a psychedelic sound, with rolling drums and a nice balance of guitar and keys. The sound is nice and expansive with just that right touch of dreamy haziness. Driver's vocals are quite expressive, which is a nice surprise. After the lyrics end, the cinematic element continues, and then suddenly the vocals turn dirty as the music remains almost orchestral. It all ends with a short rolling drum solo.

"Lost Souls on Lonesome's Way" (5:20) mix in a bit of the goth sound again, this time more in the attitude in the vocals and the jangly and echoing guitars. As it continues, some pizzicato is added to the guitar giving it a bit of attitude, then the vocals go chant-like as the music softens to sustained notes and continued drumming. Then, threatening spoken word section comes in with synths in the background, and then the music gets a bit complex and dramatic with Driver singing in his higher register. This track is quite dynamic and changes often, but the changes are smooth, even when it slips into a nice guitar solo around the middle of it all. I love the way the track slips from one style to another while still sounding cohesive. "Vanishing Act in Blinding Gray" (8:07) begins quite atmospheric and soft, even Driver's vocals are mellow and pensive. The soft avant- jazz sound makes the track glide along in a peaceful manner, sort of in the style of "Blue Lambency Downward" but a bit more accessible and less abrasive. Just calm and smooth. Now, saying that this music is accessible is only on a comparative with other Kayo Dot music, it truly is not accessible in a traditional sense. The music intensifies later, by the way, and the complexity level moves up several notches. If this is your first time listening to Kayo Dot (and so far, this is a perfect entry level album as it sort of gives you a taste of all of their styles), you will now notice why they are considered avant-prog and art rock. Intensity continues to grow and Driver's vocals get heavier and more expressive even as it becomes somewhat narrative. Wow! This is a definite stand out track.

"Turbine, Hook and Haul" (6:09) starts off sounding quite lush with layers of synths, and a trumpet coming along in the middle, sounding a bit tortured, but controlled. The dreamy sound is very evident in this track, yet it remains softly complex as it stays away from falling into any singular or traditional melody. " Midnight Mystic Rise and Fall" (5:33) starts out a bit heavier, but with a thick and layered sound with a combination of synths and guitars. Between the previous track and this one, the melodies have fallen into what sounds like a more improvised singing style. This is actually fine because of the telling of the story. The theme in this track lies more in the instrumentation than it does in the vocals. The track also remains in the smooth and lush sound of the previous track, but, as I mentioned earlier, a bit heavier. It also intensifies later on with frantic vocals and some squealing feedback and it gets quite dramatic by the end.

"An Eye for a Lie" (5:21) features heavily processed and layered vocals swirled into thick synth and guitar layers. The real experimental side of Kayo Dot shows through here and it all sounds quite exploratory now. Now, if it's your first time hearing Kayo Dot, you have never heard anything like this. Everything, at this point, is totally unpredictable as the music flows and intensifies with the story. The lyrics are quite discernable in the beginning, but as Driver starts to abuse his voice a bit, this becomes totally indiscernible. It all quiets down again to the heavily processed sound as it ends. The last track is "Blasphemy: A Prophecy" (4:13), with the odd gothic feel again, with rolling drums and dreamy synths, but with expressive, mostly atonal vocals at first. This soon changes as the vocals follow the notes of the organ, and then as it builds, the combination of guitars and synth layers gives that orchestral feel again.

I haven't heard the remixes that come on the bonus CD, so I can't say whether they add to or take away from the entire experience, but the album proper is quite excellent. I have felt for quite some time that Kayo Dot is one of the most important avant-prog and experimental bands that is still quite relevant. At the first few listens, I tend to like the first two- thirds of the album the best, but I think with time, that the last part of the album will also grow on me. This always seems to be the case with many of the Kayo Dot albums. I do know the musicianship and the composition of the songs is outstanding and it lends itself to one of their best. I like all of Kayo Dot's albums to some extent, but this one feels really strong. It also tends to by more variant, and that is also a plus. As I mentioned before, I think this is one of their best albums to start on if you haven't heard them before. It give you a good overall picture of what to expect from the band, that is, the unexpected. Their sound is unique, and each album has it's own unique traits, but this one seems to encompass them all at one point or another, but the overall sound is mostly thick and layered, yet to a degree, maybe a bit more accessible than some others. Anyway, if you are totally confused now, I don't blame you. I just know I love it and it is definitely one of the best of the year.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars KAYO DOT decidedly abandoned any metal connections on "Coffins On Io" and started melding Gothic rock with it's unique brand of dark jazz, avant-prog and darkwave. Toby Driver and friends continue this on BLASPHEMY, the ninth studio album. While the previous release "Plastic House On Base Of Sky" was larger than life with 21 extra musicians on board to create a somewhat bloated production, BLASPHEMY on the hand creates a more immediate effect by reducing the lineup to a mere six participants. The result is a more direct progressive rock experience that focuses on creepy atmospheres that match the foggy album cover art with Gothic bleakness.

There are two camps of KAYO DOT fans, one that went gaga over Driver's unique avant-garde metal style that mixed metal bombast with jazz, chamber prog and avant-garde weirdness and then there are those who love this second phase of non-metal mood maddening Goth. Of course there are those who get into both sides. I'm in the first camp and have never related to this phase of the KAYO DOT universe and unfortunately BLASPHEMY does not change this fact. The album consists of eight tracks of over 45 minutes however there is also a second bonus disc titled PURITY for those who can't get enough of this style of KAYO DOT. If that's the case get the Digibook Limited Edition and bliss out!

Admittedly while i literally hated this album upon first listen, it actually has grown on me a bit through forced exposure until i can put myself into the head of the creators who forged it in their fiery pits. The admirable aspects include highly complex time signature changes, abstract and surreal tones and timbres that really do take you to the heart of the matrix for deep contemplation. The whole thing does sound what The Cure might've evolved into had they pursued a more progressive rock oriented sound. The down side is that after the first three tracks the album begins to lag a bit and the spell that the album casts begins to wear thin to my ears.

While the production works quite well, i find the vocals to a bit irritating to be honest. Musically all is fine featuring those knotty KAYO DOT workouts but considering the music is so dark and depressive i find the vocals to be a bit one-dimensional and in the end pretty much ruins the overall experience. In fact the vocals sound processed much of the time and there is some sort of tinny tone that reminds me of modern day electro-pop which while not inherently bad for what it is, doesn't resonate in the context of a dark gloomy album theme to my ears. Whatever the case some have warmed up to this album as the logical next step from this series of non-metal albums.

Given the Gothic rock leanings, BLASPHEMY also has more pop oriented hooks than most KAYO DOT albums would ever dare. As a KAYO DOT fan i'm more accustomed to the jagged surreal soundscapes of "Choirs Of The Eye," "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue" and "Blue Lambency Downward," therefore this one is just too tame for my interest from an artist known to expand the metal world's horizons into bizarre new colonizations of sound. All in all this isn't as bad as my first impressions implied but after giving it more time to sink in and renewed contemplation, it still doesn't exactly light my fire. When it comes down to it, BLASPHEMY just doesn't deliver what it promises. I can't enjoy an album that i constantly have to reinterpret it to what i want it to be. While i can overlook that to some degree, in the end this just doesn't rank high on my KAYO DOT experiences.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Kayo Dot have long been one of the more amorphous acts in the progressive rock and metal scene. There's often a great deal of variation between their individual albums, with their last couple releases being relatively soft and synth-heavy. Compare that to their vaunted debut, Choirs of the Eye, wher ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903268) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 4.95 Stars. Avant-Prog at its most accessible Kayo Dot are a band that have been on a steady rise over the last decade. After hitting rock-bottom in 2012 where they had to produce Gamma Knife on a budget of $0, they have slowly gone up the ranks by getting signed to the Flesher Label, and now th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2263457) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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